Sparks Fly After Millbury Selectmen Pull Puffins' Liquor License

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The liquor license for Puffins Restaurant, owned by Karen McGovern, was revoked Tuesday by the Millbury Board of Selectmen.
The liquor license for Puffins Restaurant, owned by Karen McGovern, was revoked Tuesday by the Millbury Board of Selectmen. Photo Credit: Steve Balestrieri, File photo

MILLBURY, Mass. — The full liquor license for Puffins was pulled Tuesday night by the Millbury Board of Selectmen because the restaurant was not using it to its full extent.

Puffins has been in business in Millbury for more than 20 years and is owned by Karen McGovern. But for nearly half of that time, according to Selectman Francis King, the restaurant has not been using the license properly.

In January, the board referenced letters written to McGovern from 2001, 2002 and 2011 stating that if she didn't use the license for the hours specified, the town reserved the right to withdraw it.

In the spring and summer, Puffins expanded its hours, which were specified in the ABC’s (Alcohol Beverage Board) license. But Puffins hasn’t been keeping its hours recently because McGovern was in an auto accident, said her husband, who represented her at the Tuesday meeting.

But her husband also said she had been working long hours to train a new chef, which prompted Selectman Brian Stowell to ask, “If she can work training a new chef, then why can’t she appear here?”

Stowell then made a motion to pull the full liquor license, which passed after a short discussion. But tempers flared between board members after the meeting.

Two members argued in the hallway outside of the meeting room, with one member accusing Stowell of “grandstanding for the cameras.” But Stowell said, "Something needed to be done.”

Puffins has the right to appeal the decision or to be granted a beer and wine license, which was offered in January and in the summer.

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Comments (7)

I wish the board would spend more time coming up with ways to lower my taxes than to count the hours of which a business is pouring ,

Good for Brian to speak up . She has been given so many
chances to increase her hours. I agree this has always been a
breakfast and lunch place and no need for alcohol.

I'd say the BOS dropped the ball but I don't think we even supply the school kids with balls anymore.

Wow our town must really be in great shape that our BOS can spend this much time on a business that DOESN'T SERVE ENOUGH ALCOHOL! Look around there are plenty of places to drink. Spend some time on our real problems.

Guess the felt mill finally gets the liquor license.

Really, no one has to be open that number of hours the town as set for her... No one in this town is open that many hours .. and people on that board were very mean to her.. what because she is female and they can step all over her.. When she had the lawyer it was a different story.. they were all nicey nicey... it makes me sick how they can treat people so mean.. That is so wrong.. And she was in an accident and really you have good days and bad.. so she had a bad night ... and she couldn't make it.. She didn't just not show up.. she sent her husband.. Really people.. what is wrong with this world.. it really makes me sick to see people being so mean.. No need for it..

It's about time the license was pulled. Great place for breakfast, as can usually be seen in a daily basis. Otherwise not many customers. No need to waste a full liquor license on this place. She was given every opportunity to adhere to the rules and didn't. Time to cut her losses and move on.